DENVER (AP) – Mike Fiers threw six sharp innings before turning it over to a lights-out bullpen and the Oakland Athletics snapped a six-game skid against the Colorado Rockies with a 3-1 win Wednesday.
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Fiers (6-2) may not throw hard – his fastball routinely hits the upper 80s – but he limited Colorado to a run by mixing in an effective slider and change-up. The Rockies were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position against the 35-year-old Fiers.
The bullpen with the best ERA in baseball took it from there. Jake Diekman struck out three over 1 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 1/3 innings this season. Liam Hendriks got the final five outs to pick up his 13th save in 14 chances.
Tony Kemp made an acrobatic move to score the game’s first run. Caught in a rundown heading for home, he somehow swerved around the tag of first baseman Josh Fuentes – who was covering the plate – and touched home with his left hand as he tumbled to the dirt.
Jake Lamb had two hits, including an RBI single as part of a two-run sixth that gave the Athletics a 3-1 lead. Lamb is 5 for 11 since agreeing to terms with Oakland on Sept. 14 after being released by Arizona. He was 5 for 43 with the Diamondbacks this season.
It was another hard-luck loss for Rockies ace Germán Márquez (2-6), whose last win was Aug. 4. After fighting with his command early, the hard-throwing righty found his rhythm in allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six and issued a season-high four walks.
The Rockies are trending the wrong way as they try to stay in the playoff chase. After starting 11-3, they’ve gone 11-23 since Aug. 9. It’s the worst winning percentage in the majors over that span.
Umpiring crew: First-base umpire Alfonso Marquez took a ball off his leg on a pickoff attempt. He remained in the game.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (sore shoulder) was shut down for the season. The 28-year-old last pitched on Sept. 1 before going on the injured list with what was described as inflammation in his shoulder. Gray finished the season 2-4 with a 6.69 ERA.
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Rockies manager Bud Black sent a congratulatory text to Nuggets coach Michael Malone, whose team rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 of their playoff series. The Nuggets are headed to the Western Conference finals after their second straight comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.
Denver became the third team in the U.S. major pro sports to rally from a pair of 3-1 deficits in the same postseason, joining the 2003 Minnesota Wild and a squad Black knows well – the 1985 Kansas City Royals. Black appeared in five playoff games as the Royals captured a World Series title that season.
“You don’t see it a lot,” Black said of the Nuggets, who next face the Los Angeles Lakers. “Hopefully, they don’t get down 3-1. If they do, hey, they’re never out of it. They’ve proven that.”
Athletics: After an off day, open a three-game series against San Francisco on Friday.
Rockies: Begin a four-game series against the NL-leading Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Lefty Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.54 ERA) goes for Colorado while lefty Julio Urías (3-0, 3.53) throws for the Dodgers.
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